Categories
BLOG

magic pot problems

Magic pot problems

Two of Everything

It took me ten years to discover this book, but it was well worth the wait! Ms Hong has retold and illustrated a Chinese folktale. The story recounts what happens when an elderly and impoverished Chinese farmer, Mr. Haktak, discovers a large pot buried in the field he has been digging for years.

Thinking that the pot may be helpful to his wife, Mr. Haktak carts the pot home. As he stumbles along, he drops his purse, containing his last 5 gold coins. To keep from losing it, he tosses it into the pot.

At home, his wife reaches into the pot to get the purse, but out come two purses. Her hairpin falls into the pot and she finds two hairpins in the pot. They quickly figure out that the pot will double things put into it and proceed to make a second winter coat where they had only one. They have a wonderful time doubling all their food. It is Mrs. Haktak who figures out that they can have anything they want. She put the purse into the pot over and over until “the floor was covered with coins.”

Disaster strikes the next day when Mrs. Haktak falls into the pot. Of course, out come two Mrs. Haktaks. This causes a severe problem for Mr. Haktak, until he, too, falls in the pot. With two of each, there is double the fun, and enough of everything for all of them. They built two identical houses, side by side and were careful never to fall in the pot again!

There are math possibilities here. TERC suggests having students write math riddles. What they actually are is not riddles, but word problems. Students can choose a double and write a story problem illustrating the double and using the Magic Pot. For example:

Jasmin had 5 barrettes. She put them all in the Magic Pot. How many barrettes did she take out? 5 + 5 = 10

This book is great for the trait of Ideas. Students could write a story about what would happen if they dropped something in the pot. Ask them to think about what the results would be. One of my students has always wanted to be a twin, and this was a perfect way of writing about being half of twins.

Some students wanted to change what the pot did. We talked about what might happen if the pot made you young, or old. What if it made you a boy instead of a girl, or a girl instead of a boy? What if it turned you into an animal? What if the magic pot took you back in time? What if it moved you forward in time? No matter what grade level your students are, there is certain to be an idea about the Magic Pot which can spark their imaginations!

Magic pot problems Two of Everything It took me ten years to discover this book, but it was well worth the wait! Ms Hong has retold and illustrated a Chinese folktale. The story recounts what

A Magical Pot Makes for Math Book Magic

Happy (almost) Halloween! It seems like the number of trick-or-treating opportunities doubles each year along with the size of the candy bars. Although children enjoy this candy growth pattern, this week’s math picture book shows us that doubling can get a bit out of control.

The Book

Two of Everything was written and illustrated by Lily Toy Hong and published in 1993 by Albert Whitman & Company.

Hong re-tells this Chinese folktale with clarity and humor. In the tale, Mr. Haktak digs up an ancient brass pot and brings it home to his wife. While the Haktak’s can’t find any practical uses for the pot, they discover it has magical ones. Whatever they place in pot, ends up doubling. The problem is the magical pot doubles EVERYTHING. In the end, the Haktaks find a way wield the magical pot’s powers.

Hong’s charming illustrations in beautiful blues and greens are a lovely companion to this delightful tale. This story will amuse children in kindergarten through middle school.

The Math

This book can be used to practice double addition facts. For example, when Mr. Haktak accidentally drops his coin purse containing 5 coins in the pot, the 5 coins are transformed into 10 coins. (Doubles fact: 5+5=10 or using multiplication 2×5=10).

This book is also a great way to talk about growing patterns with children. The lesson presented here from Marilyn Burn’s website Math Solutions leverages the story’s engaging context and provides a “beginning experience with examining a growth pattern, recording and extending data on a T- chart, and representing the pattern algebraically with an equation. The experience is then extended by changing the doubling rule of the pot to other rules for the children to figure out.” [From Math Solutions website, Lessons for Algebraic Thinking, Grades 3–5, a lovely resource for supporting algebraic thinking in early grades]

Growth patterns are examples of a mathematical function. The function y=2x represents the growing pattern of the magical pot in the story where x represents the number of the objects placed in the pot and y represents the number of objects that are taken out of the pot. One metaphor used to teach functions is a function machine. When you input something into the function machine, you get a unique output.

The pot in Two of Everything is similar to the machine metaphor with a bit of magic thrown in. If you input five coins in the magic pot, you will get 10 coins, which is the unique output for 5 coins. [Note: Functions do not always change inputs as in the case of the magic pot. For example, the identity function will map any input to itself.]

The Magic

The magic pot gave me a useful context to talk about growth patterns with my children. Here are an example of some questions we talked about on the short ride to school the other day.

If you drop 3 pieces of candy into the magic pot, how many pieces come out?

If you drop 1 1/2 cookies into the pot, how many cookies come out?

What if 10 snakes came out of the pot, how many snakes were put in?

The magical pot put the fun in function for our family. Go to your local library and check out Two of Everything if you haven’t already. This folktale does double duty with a great story plus a magical pot in-out function metaphor.

Have a magical math book you’d like share? Please go to the Shared booklist to find out how. If you’d like to receive these magical math book posts each Monday, be sure to follow this blog in the side bar of this page.

Thanks and see you next Monday! #mathbookmagic

Happy (almost) Halloween! It seems like the number of trick-or-treating opportunities doubles each year along with the size of the candy bars. Although children enjoy this candy growth pattern, this week's math picture book shows us that doubling can get a bit out of control. The Book Two of Everything was written and illustrated by Lily…